Two soldiers arrested with T-56 rifles stolen from Panadura Police

By Hemantha Randunu

Akuressa police on Monday arrested nine suspects including two soldiers attached to an army camp in Panadura, in connection with the shooting and injuring of two constables.

The victims were shot at the Tibbotuwawa junction, when a scooter ridden by one of the suspects and another two on the pillion were given chase when they sped away, defying the orders to stop.

Acting on information elicited from one of the soldiers in custody, two T-56 assault rifles which went missing from the armoury of the Panadura police were recovered. Investigations revealed that one of the assault rifles had been sold to a robber gang in Akuressa for Rs.100,000.

First, the OIC of Akuressa police arrested the person who rode the scooter, in Elgiriya,and the other two were subsequently taken into custody in Elgiriya and Pitigala.

The suspects confessed that they were visiting the gambling dens in the area to rob money and they had shot the policeman with one of the weapons stolen from the Panadura police.

One of the soldiers now in custody told his interrogators that he was part of a team assigned to arrest suspected members of National Thowheed Jamaat in Panadura with the police following the Easter Sunday attacks and he made use of that opportunity to steal the two weapons.

He had hidden them in a ditch opposite the Panadura police station.

Her was planning to to sell the two weapons to a robber gang in Akuressa through another soldier attached to the same camp.

The robber gang was prepared to buy both weapons for Rs.100,00 and took them away after paying an advance of Rs.60,000.

Although the soldier had urged the members of the robber gang to pay the balance money, they never did it, he had told the interrogators.

The shooting occurred when members of the robber gang were proceeding to rob a gambling den to pay the soldier.

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